July 26th, 2011

The pressure in any pump-pipes system can shift with changes in any one or a combination of three things: pumping intensity, rate, and output; fluid volume of the system; and resistance on the pipes. Here’s how these factors correspond to the pressure of blood in your own pump-and-pipes system.
Pumping intensity, rate, and outputThe more intense or rapid the heartbeat, the greater the volume of blood pumped out of the heart with each beat (known as cardiac output) and the higher the blood pressure throughout the system. Stress or exercise, for example, prompts the adrenal glands to secrete hormones that speed up heart rate and cardiac output. This in turn elevates blood pressure.
Fluid volumeThe more blood in the system, the greater the pressure against the blood vessel walls. Blood volume increases – and blood pressure rises – when sodium levels increase and cause water to be retained by the body. This results from dietary indiscretions and mineral imbalances.
Resistance on the pipesAs blood flows through the vessels, it encounters friction or a phenomenon known as peripheral resistance (because the greatest friction is in the peripheral arterioles, away from the heart). Three things contribute to peripheral resistance. One is blood viscosity, or thickness. The thicker the blood, the less easily it flows and the higher the blood pressure. Excess fat in the diet may contribute to increased blood viscosity. Another contributor to peripheral resistance is total blood vessel length – the longer the length, the greater the resistance. Every extra pound on your body requires additional blood vessels to sustain it, and this is one reason why weight gain is associated with increases in blood pressure.The third and perhaps most significant cause of peripheral resistance and increased blood pressure is decreased diameter and responsiveness of the arteries and arterioles. The muscular walls of your arteries and arterioles enable them to constrict and expand to divert blood to various areas, depending on your body’s needs. When they constrict and become smaller – decreasing the diameter of the pipes – blood pressure goes up. The arteries and arterioles constrict in response to hormones and other chemical messengers associated with stress, exercise, and other factors, as well as to mineral imbalances at the cellular level. In addition, arteriosclerosis (stiffening and thickening of the arteries) and atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries) also decrease the diameter and flexibility of the arteries, thus contributing to peripheral resistance and higher blood pressure.*12/313/5*


July 16th, 2011

The cost of BDD isn’t known, but is certainly high. The economic cost includes medical costs for bodily harm and accidents, the cost of ineffective medical and surgical evaluation and treatment, and the cost of medical and psychiatric hospitalization. It also includes the costs of incomplete education, decreased productivity, lateness, and days lost from work, and the cost of disability payments.Some people with BDD have significant financial problems because of these costs or because they spend so much money on wigs, clothes, makeup or surgery. One woman was more than $10,000 in debt because she’d spent so much money on clothing and wigs. Several other people were more than $20,000 in debt.Richard’s experience illustrates how costly BDD can be. Richard had dropped out of school because he constantly went to the bathroom to check the mirror and couldn’t concentrate on his studies. He tried several jobs, but quit each of them because of his symptoms. He then moved in with his family and went on disability.Richard had made three suicide attempts, usually after looking in the mirror and feeling devastated by what he saw. After each attempt, he was hospitalized. After he overdosed, he had a long stay in an intensive care unit. In the six months before I saw him, he’d been hospitalized four times. Richard had also had three operations on his lips, which were costly and ineffective. Two had such devastating results, in his view, that he had to be psychiatrically hospitalized. “I had to be hospitalized because after the surgery my lips were black and blue and swollen,” he said. “They looked deformed. I went wild, screaming and smashing things. I thought they were worse than ever, and I thought I’d done irreparable damage to myself.”Although Richard had had BDD for only several years, the cost of his illness had been staggering—already well over $100,000. But the greater cost of BDD is the human cost—the severe suffering and pain. Years lost to the illness can’t replaced. One man told me, “It’s crazy because I’ve wasted so much of my life. I grieve for all the years this disorder took from me.”*143\204\8*


July 5th, 2011

When micro-organisms invade the body a battle ensues between them and the body’s defenses. White blood cells are mobilized and some of them release active substances into the local circulation. A similar release of active substances occurs during allergic reactions, or when a weal of a blister following a burn forms on the skin. These substances cause intense pain, as well as an increased sensitivity to pain; they can be divided into two groups, kinins which are derived from protein breakdown, and amines, especially histamine, which causes more inflammation and makes blood vessel walls porous, to produce swelling and redness.
SinusitisThis pain often affects the area over the eye (frontal sinus) or below it (maxillary sinus). The pain often comes on after a cold which blocks the nose and occurs each day, being worse in the afternoons. The pain is caused by inflammation and stretching of the periosteum and vessels by pus under tension. The area is often tender to pressure or tapping and the diagnosis can be confirmed by X-rays.
MeningitisThis is an inflammation of the brain’s coverings (meninges) and is always associated with headache. The intense pain from the head gives rise to contraction of the muscles of the neck to produce the stiff neck which is a symptom of meningitis. It is a serious condition and when suspected, a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) is necessary to examine the cerebrospinal fluid. With modern antibiotics, over 90 per cent of cases should be cured.
EncephalitisThis means inflammation of the brain and is another very serious cause of headache.
Dental infectionThis is sometimes a cause of headache but is more likely to cause pain in the jaws, and the lower more commonly than the upper.


June 20th, 2011
Infectious diseases are diverse. They are diverse in transmission modes, diverse in their use of host tissues, and diverse in the harm they cause. Medicine understands the acute infectious diseases fairly well because the chains of infectious transmission range from being very conspicuous to pretty conspicuous. A few, such as smallpox and malaria, cause terrible problems for people. But the vast majority rarely kill, and most are so mild that the fitness costs they impose on humans would not be sufficiently high to implicate infection.
No one grasps yet the distribution of virulence among chronic infectious diseases because the health sciences are now still in the midst—or perhaps at the beginning—of discovering the scope of infectious causation of chronic diseases. The germ theory has been widely accepted since about 1880. During the first century of this period, almost all the recognized chronic infectious diseases had a distinct acute phase. Diseases like tuberculosis had chronic phases that were easy to link to infectious causes because the development of chronic disease involved a slow and observable transition from the acute phase to the chronic. The chronic phases of diseases like syphilis were a bit more difficult to recognize as being caused by infection, because of gaps
between the acute and chronic phases and because the different phases had fundamentally different symptoms. The acute phase was characterized by lesions on the genitalia, the first chronic phase by a generalized rash, and the late chronic phases by such a variety of disease states, including heart disease, insanity, and paralysis, that syphilis became known as the great imitator. A chronic disease such as shingles was still more difficult to link to its infectious cause because it surfaced after a long disease-free period had elapsed after the acute phase, which we call chicken pox; moreover, shingles does not occur in everyone who has had chicken
pox—some people die before it would have occurred, and the immune systems of other people have apparently so thoroughly controlled the virus that it cannot resurge in the form of shingles.
During the first three decades of the germ theory, from about 1880 to 1910, the scope of acute infectious diseases was quickly resolved, and hypotheses for infectious causation of chronic diseases were advanced. Chronic diseases that were the most easily linked to their acute
beginnings were broadly accepted during this period as different manifestations of specific infectious processes.
During the first half of the twentieth century, medical researchers confirmed that infections caused various chronic diseases that appeared as delayed consequences of acute diseases with entirely different symptoms. In 1909 the Hungarian pediatrician J. von Bokay provided evidence that convinced many of his colleagues that the hypothesis he first published in 1892 was true: shingles is a delayed manifestation of chicken pox. After about a half century of observation, experimentation, and debate about rheumatic fever, it was finally accepted during the 1940s as a delayed, often chronic manifestation of previous infection with Streptococcus pyogenes, the primary agent of strep throat.
By the middle of the twentieth century medical science was poised to move into an even more cryptic realm of the spectrum of infectious disease—those chronic diseases that were caused by infections that did not generate obvious acute phases. Then medical science dropped the ball. A few people noticed it, and kicked it around a bit, but for the most part it was left alone. This period strikingly parallels the three decades before the first flowering of the germ theory in the nineteenth century, when Jacob Henle’s call for investigating infectious causation of acute diseases was similarly dismissed without any evidence to justify the dismissal. It is not entirely clear why medicine dropped the ball between 1950 and 1980. In the 1940s the hypothesis for the infectious causation of peptic ulcers, cardiovascular disease, and cancer was still being considered. In some cases people were even being cured with antibiotics. A combination of developments in science and medicine were misinterpreted and misapplied as leaders failed to guard against the biases of human thought.
Ironically, one of the reasons for this slowdown was the same reason for the tremendous success in identifying infectious causation during the preceding three quarters of a century: the adherence to Koch’s postulates. In a presentation to the Tenth International Medical Congress held in Berlin in 1880, Robert Koch set out powerful guidelines for identifying infectious causation. These guidelines, which have come to be known as Koch’s postulates, were simple rules for maintaining a high standard of evidence in an area of research that was burgeoning at the end of the nineteenth century. Koch advised researchers to (i) demonstrate the putative pathogen in each patient with the disease, (ii) recover and grow the pathogen in pure culture, (iii) produce the disease in humans or laboratory animals with the cultured microbe, and (iv) recover the pathogen microbe from the diseased animals. The historical record shows that when these guidelines were met, the diseases invariably turned out to be caused by infection. This success then led many experts to insist that infectious causation be accepted only when these guidelines had been met—and that is where the logical error crept in. The goal of the experts was laudable; they were trying to ensure that medical research would be rigorous. But they presumed that if a batch of evidence is sufficient for the acceptance of the validity of an argument in one situation, then other kinds of evidence are insufficient for the acceptance of the validity of the argument in other cases. Koch did not make this error; he cautioned that researchers should not use these guidelines as the only basis for ascribing infectious causation. Unfortunately, it is easier to follow guidelines than to think critically on a case-by-case basis, and the experts of the
mid-twentieth century set in stone Koch’s postulates as the standard for ascribing infectious causation. The consequence was that even when important evidence of infectious causation was available, it tended to be dismissed if Koch’s postulates were not satisfied. This dismissal had major consequences for understanding the scope of infectious causation because for some infectious diseases Koch’s postulates can be virtually impossible to fulfill.


June 14th, 2011
Now that we are done with this casual review of your brain 1 % in action, stand back and think (your brain again). If activities as trivial as a day-in, day-out morning routine or watching the news on television are so demanding of brain resources, can you imagine the brain machinery behind the complex professional activities of a physician or an engineer, the intellectual rigor of a mathematician or a chess player, or the creative surge of a violinist or a dancer? Cognitive neuroscience is only beginning to address these issues, but it is no longer possible to think or talk about the mind without the brain, or about the brain without the mind.
As a typical reader of this book, you are not a brain scientist, but you are a brain user, a consumer of brainpower, so to speak. And the odds are that you have not been particularly inquisitive about the inner workings of your brain. This is a curious phenomenon, and it concerns all of the human body, not just the brain. Ironically, most of us generally do not care about our body, as long as it leaves us alone, does not ache, hurt, itch, or malfunction, and allows us to feel good. If Johnny contracts hepatitis A from bad oysters, he does not go to the doctor because his liver enzymes are elevated and viral titers are up; he goes because he feels lousy and tired, and because his face and eyeballs have turned yellow—not a highly valued trait on the dating circuit.
Even though Johnny does not particularly care to know about the inner workings of his body, he accepts the general premise that how he feels depends on, among other things, the condition of his liver, which has to be dealt with in order for Johnny to feel good again and regain a desirable complexion. But when it comes to the mind-brain relationship, the closeness of this link does not seem to have trickled into the public awareness yet. The general public is only beginning to appreciate the fact that any assault on the brain will affect your mind.
But is the inverse true? Can we improve the quality of the mind by improving the function of the brain? If the answer to this question is “yes,” then Johnny should start learning how to take care of his brain, just as, in the last few decades, he has embraced the notions of healthy physical living (raw oysters notwithstanding). In this book, I will argue that what happens to one’s brain as one ages depends to a great extent on what one does with it at a younger age. I will also argue that it may be possible to improve one’s mind by improving one’s brain even at an advanced age. I will discuss how this happens in everyday life and what can be done to accomplish it better in a more structured manner.
First, though, we need to understand the natural processes in the brain throughout the life span. “Seasons of the mind” or seasons of the brain is, of course, a metaphor, but not too farfetched a metaphor. The brain and the mind go through stages in the course of a lifetime. Like the seasons of the year, the seasons of the mind are not separated by clear-cut absolute boundaries, but morph gradually and seamlessly into one another. So any attempt to link these boundaries to precise chronology is a matter of convention rather than of real biological discontinuities. Just as the change between seasons may vary from year to year (early summer one year, late spring another year), so too the exact timing of transition from one “season of the mind” to the next varies somewhat from person to person. To complicate matters even further, not all aspects of the mind and the brain move through the stages in perfect synchrony. This means that how exactly you set the boundaries between the stages depends to a large degree on your choice of the criteria. Unlike the four seasons of the year, it is common to speak about three seasons of the brain: development, maturity, and aging.


June 5th, 2011
Q fever is an acute illness often accompanied by pneumonia which results from infection with a form of Rickettsia. The first human cases of the disease were observed in Australia in 1933. Since they originated in Queensland, the infection was named “Q fever.” Now a similar organism has been isolated from ticks captured in Montana and cases have been found in other areas of the United States.
Human beings are highly susceptible to Q fever; from 25 to 40 per cent of those exposed may be attacked by the disease. The condition was found much more often in Australia among people exposed to cattle. Before 1946 the disease was rare in the United States but has now been found particularly in epidemics in stockyards such as the one in Amarillo, Texas, in Chicago, and among dairymen in Los Angeles county. Workers in research institutes have frequently been infected.
From twelve to twenty-six days after exposure, the disease comes on with symptoms like those seen in other Rickettsial diseases. The two striking features that make Q fever different from other infections with Rickettsia is the absence of any characteristic rash and the almost invariable presence of pneumonia. However, pulmonary symptoms are often mild or absent. About one-half the patients have aches in the chest. X-ray of the chest shows that the lungs have been infected in at least 90 per cent of the cases.
Q fever may be confused with primary virus pneumonia, with tuberculosis, with psittacosis or infected bird fever, and must also be distinguished from ordinary influenza, sinusitis, undulant fever, dengue, and other Rickettsial infections.
Here again aureomycin, chloromycetin, and terramycin have been found useful in treatment. Relapses are rare. Most of the patients recover. Thus far only some eight or ten deaths have occurred among perhaps 1,000 cases that have been reported in medical writings.


May 30th, 2011
When living organisms such as germs or viruses invade the human body, the tissues of the body undergo changes which help them to resist the poisons of the invader. By this reaction the tissues become immune to the poisons. Much depends on the virulence of the infections, the total number of germs invading, the place where they enter the body, the tissues or structures where they settle and grow. If you are susceptible to the infection, it will attack you; it may even overcome you. If you are resistant, the tissues of your body may develop antibodies which will overcome the germs or viruses or their poisons.
Certain environmental conditions may increase or lower your resistance to infection. Chilling of the body, excessive fatigue, absence of some essential nutritional substance, as proteins, or mineral salts or vitamins, or the presence of another disease at the same time may modify the resistance of the body to an invader.
The chemical composition of the invading organism may be significant in the way in which the body responds to it. An invading substance is known as an “antigen.” Usually the response of the body to an invading germ is specific against that germ or against that type of germ. Bacteria may contain a number of antigenic substances, against each of which the body will rebuild resistance. An example of an antibody against infections is the immune globulin. This is a protein substance found in blood, in which we now know are accumulated substances that help to resist various infections such as those of measles or poliomyelitis. In man, most of the antibodies are found in the immune globulin of the blood. The amount of antibody that develops is also governed by such factors as the amount of infectious material that gets into the body. The doctors find that they can help you build resistance by repeatedly injecting small doses of an infecting substance. We know that a child gets resisting substances from its mother in her blood at the time of birth and in the first material that comes from the breast when the child begins to nurse. This is called “colostrum.” The amount of antibodies may be unfavorably affected by starvation, exposure, reduced protein intake, alcoholism, or other poisoning.


May 10th, 2011
In recent years, drugs have been developed for the purpose of blocking the effects of adrenaline and noradrenalin on the body. These drugs are used by physicians to treat high blood pressure, rapid and irregular pulse, symptoms of over-activity of the thyroid gland and other conditions where too much adrenaline is circulating in the body.
These drugs have been found useful also for treating the body symptoms of anxiety.
If you refer back to the anxiety equation, you will note that these adrenaline blocking, or beta-blocking drugs (they block the beta-receptors which respond to adrenaline), do not prevent the warning feeling of unease of the anxiety response, while they do block some of the unpleasant body symptoms due to the body’s arousal for fight or flight.
The beta-blocking drugs may therefore be useful in treating anxiety symptoms from unavoidable stress because they do not prevent the warning function of the anxiety response. Theoretically these drugs should not make the person more likely to cross the thresholds to stage two or stage three breakdown because the warning function of the anxiety response is preserved. The most useful of the beta-blocking drugs for this purpose is propranolol (‘Inderal’). However, before we all run off to the doctor for prescriptions of propranolol for our stress-related headaches, muscle tension and tremor, we need to be reminded that all drugs have unwanted side effects, this drug included. The decision to use drugs at all for anxiety symptoms due to stress breakdown must be considered very carefully.


May 3rd, 2011
“Women are way too sensitive—you say one thing to them and they fall apart.”
“Everything is about feelings to women. Instead of thinking, they just react.”
“Living with a woman is one big emotional melodrama.”
This is one of the myths about women that really bugs me, because it negatively characterizes one of the most beautiful qualities women possess—the ability to feel deeply and to express those feelings—as a character flaw rather than a gift. This characterization is based on a value judgment that says to show emotions is somehow a less desirable state than to cover up emotions. Of course, this is one of the messages most men received from the time they were little boys: to hold back tears is more courageous than to cry; to be tough is more desirable than to be afraid; to be independent is stronger than to need.
In my opinion, men spend their entire lives recovering from this social conditioning that robs them of their ability to honor and show emotion. But one of the many unfortunate consequences of this kind of thinking is that men often project the standards that have been imposed upon them onto women, and according to those standards, we fail miserably. What’s the result? Men often misinterpret women’s natural sensitivity as weakness, our ability to feel deeply as dramatic indulgence, and our expression of emotion as an indication that we are a mess.
myth:   Women are too emotional.
truth:  Women are in touch with our feelings.
Once again, let me offer a disclaimer: There are women, just as there are men, who are emotionally unbalanced and out of control. But here we’re talking about the average woman who feels deeply and readily expresses those feelings. The mistake men make is characterizing a woman as too emotional simply because she is in touch with her emotions.
What do men mean by “too emotional”? I think they mean “too emotional” for how they think a man should be. It’s as if men have an invisible barometer that measures feelings, and the measurement has to fall below a certain point for them to feel they are normal. They can be sad, but not too sad, and crying is definitely over the top. They can be scared, but not too scared, and feeling out of control is absolutely unacceptable. Anger is okay, because it’s a more macho emotion to many men, as opposed to a “weak” emotion. Need and loneliness, on the other hand, are more vulnerable emotions, and must be kept in check. Of course, I’m generalizing, but you get the point: Men judge women’s emotionality by then-own standards regarding what is acceptable or unacceptable for a man. That’s why women appear to be too emotional.
There’s another reason men misinterpret a woman’s expression of emotion as a sign of weakness or instability—women don’t compartmentalize emotions like men do, and so it appears that we are not in control of our feelings. Remember Chapter 1, in which we talked about how women put love first, and rather than having a Love Room, the whole house of our consciousness is dedicated to love? Well, for a woman, if something is not right in one room of the house, it’s not right in the whole house. We are always a wife or girlfriend or lover first, no matter what else we are doing. Men, on the other hand, can walk out of the Love Room, where there may be a problem, flip a switch in their brain, and suddenly they are an accountant or a dentist or a computer programmer. Because men are able to compartmentalize like this, it is easier for them to block off feelings, whereas it is much more difficult for most women to shut off our emotions and go about our business as if nothing is the matter.
What Women Want Men to Know:
Just because women can’t shut off feelings as easily as men can doesn’t mean we are feeling too much.
As we discussed in previous chapters, women are highly tuned in to people and to the world around us. We are, for the most part, more sensitive than men, physically, emotionally, and psychically. But sensitivity is not the same as weakness. Indeed, it is a gift.
I believe one of the reasons the Higher Power that manifested the universe we live in chose to create two sexes with very different temperaments was because there is a lot we are supposed to teach each other. From men, women have the opportunity to learn about the power of focus, how to exist in the world from a position of strength, and so much more. And one of the most important lessons men get to learn from women is how to live more from the heart and honor their feelings.
When men believe Myth, several problems develop.
Men use this myth as an excuse to discount a woman’s emotions.
Meredith and her husband, Tom, decide to meet after work for dinner at a neighborhood restaurant. Tom has been working on a difficult project and hasn’t had much time to relax lately. After the waiter takes their order, they begin discussing how the day went for both of them.
“So what’s going on with the project?” Meredith asks.
“It’s just a mess,” Tom replies. “I don’t know if I can take this stress.”
“Tell me what the problem is, honey. Maybe I can help you think it through.”
“Oh sure,” Tom retorts sarcastically, “you’re going to fix it for me!”
“Tom, I’m just trying to help.” “No, you’re trying to interfere.”
Meredith feels her heart begin to ache, and tears fill her eyes. “Tom, you don’t need to speak to me that way. It really hurts my feelings.”
“Oh geez, you’re so damn sensitive,” Tom responds in a loud voice. “I can’t even have a simple conversation with you.”
What’s happening here? Tom, who’s usually a kind and sweet guy, is not being very polite or respectful to his wife. Yes, it’s probably because he’s so stressed out from work, but that’s no reason for him to take it out on Meredith, and he knows it. So when Tom sees Meredith start to cry, and realizes he hurt her feelings, he feels awful. But because he’s proud and doesn’t like to feel he’s done something wrong, it’s hard for him to admit to himself or to her that he’s behaving badly. What does he do instead? He turns the responsibility around and blames Meredith for being too sensitive. If she weren’t so vulnerable, he tells himself, she wouldn’t have reacted as strongly to what he said.
What Women Want Men to Know:
Men often blame women for being too sensitive or emotional in order to avoid taking responsibility for their own insensitive words or deeds.
Men use this myth as a way to cover up their feelings of powerlessness.
Linda is lying in bed with her husband, Howard, confiding her fears and worries about her mother, whom she may have to put in a nursing home. Tears pour down Linda’s cheeks as she describes her phone call with her mother earlier in the day. “She begged me not to put her in a home,” Linda cries, holding tightly to Howard. “I tried to explain that she needs full-time care, and that she can’t get it unless she’s in a supervised facility, but she just went on and on about how terrified she was. I feel so guilty.”
Howard listens to his wife pour her heart out and doesn’t know what to say. He wants to console her, but he doesn’t seem to have a solution to her problem. “Look, Linda, you just have to get a grip on things,” he begins. “You can’t let yourself fall apart like this.”
“I can’t help it,” Linda sobs. “It’s killing me to see Mom so sad.”
“Don’t make this into a bigger drama than it is,” Howard says. “You’re getting too emotional over this.”
“Too emotional? How can you say something so cold? I’m talking about putting my mother in a nursing home for the rest of her life until she dies!” Linda replies in a shocked voice as she gets out of bed and retreats to the bathroom to cry by herself.
What’s going on in this scenario? Howard is feeling powerless to do anything to help his wife with her terrible dilemma. He doesn’t know what to say, and as he lies there listening to her tears, he feels as if he’s letting her down because he can’t make things better for her. Frustrated, he tries to get her to stop feeling how she’s feeling and ends up blaming her for overreacting in order to cover up his own sense of inadequacy.
Society teaches men that their value is defined by what they do and accomplish. This makes most men solution oriented—they want to solve problems and fix whatever isn’t working. But in the world of feelings, that’s not always possible:
What Women Want Men to Know:
Often when men are faced with someone they love who is hurting, they feel powerless to do anything to take the hurt away and thus feel they’ve failed.
To cover up this feeling of failure, men may blame the women they love for having the emotions that are causing them to feel so powerless.
Whenever I explain this pattern to men, they are genuinely surprised, and even relieved—they haven’t understood why they react the way they do when their mate is upset; why sometimes they shut down, or become frustrated, irritated, or angry at their partner when she cries or is frightened. “I watch myself become more and more annoyed whenever my wife gets really vulnerable or emotional,” one man confessed to me, “and I feel terrible reacting that way, but I can’t seem to help it. You’re right—it’s because I love her and I can’t stand to see her hurting, and I don’t know what to do to make it better.”
In our chapter on communication, I’ll share some suggestions for how men can talk to a woman when she’s upset so that she feels loved, without having to have any solutions for her problem.
The Truth About Myth
Most women are not too emotional—we are emotional. And guess what? So are men, only you have a harder time showing it. The truth is, what you love about women is our sensitivity and our ability to feel, because that’s what allows us to adore you and make you feel so good!


April 28th, 2011
Eczema is closely associated with asthma, not only because both can be symptoms of allergies but also because many children who suffer from eczema tend to develop or be at risk of developing asthma later on.
A report in the British Journal of Dermatology describes how a group of children between the ages of three and twelve who were suffering from eczema were placed on an elimination diet. Most of the children improved on the diet and when certain foods were re-introduced their symptoms reappeared. The most common offenders were found to be fruit containing salicylates, colourings and additives, with milk and eggs following closely. If nothing else this tends to confirm something I have seen in my clinical practice for years: that the same food allergies affect different organs or systems in people at different ages. The digestive systems of babies and young children appear to be particularly affected by milk and grains, while older children often experience respiratory problems if allergic to these foods. Colourings and eggs seem to affect behaviour, but only in young people. Adults seem to be prone to mood changes when exposed to wheat, alcohol and chocolate more often than with eggs or milk, and so on.
As we always say… everyone is biochemically unique!

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